Bowl-shaped part of ear / THU 2-28-13 / French wave / Family name on Roseanne / 1997 Nicolas Cage John Malkovich thriller / Bit of mountain flora
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Constructor: Joe Krozel
Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging
THEME: PRO AND CON (1A: With 4- and 7-Acros, both sides ... or the missing starts for all the remaining Across answers) — all across answers start with (missing) PRO- or CON-, i.e. you have to supply it mentally in order for the answer to make sense. [Forgot to mention last night: black squares in middle of the grid form pluses and minuses, representing, presumably, PRO AND CON—nice visual touch]
Word of the Day: TERCET (13D: Group of three rhyming lines) —
- A group of three lines of verse, often rhyming together or with another triplet.
- Music. See triplet (sense 4).[French, from Italian terzetto, from diminutive of terzo, third, from Latin tertius.]
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/tercet#ixzz2MA4BnT6M
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I love the puzzle that this puzzle wishes it was.
Why promising ideas are allowed to go to press in this bad a state of disrepair is beyond me. Let me illustrate what I mean with one simple suggestion: change 14A to DONE. Go ahead. With one very simple move, you have removed the most laughable bit of fill in the whole puzzle. Seriously, I laughed as I was filling it in. NOED? (9D: Declined) One of my friends suggested it should've been clued "Don't do it, Asner!" I mean ... it's utterly unnecessary. And nobody caught it, no one suggested a change. Stunning. The level of inattention to fill quality is stunning. *I* should not be able to improve a puzzle with one minor change like that. A constructor who actually cares about clean fill, or an editor, or assistant, or someone, anyone, should've looked at NOED, thought "oh come on," and noticed the fix. This is to say nothing of ASE'S (!?) (4D: "___ Death" (Grieg work)), FICT (50D: Half of a best-seller list: Abbr.), and the ridiculously spelled PNOM (1D: ___-Penh)—the answer single-handedly responsible for all the slowness I experienced in this puzzle—I thought for sure the puzzle was a rebus, because PHNOM (the correct spelling) wouldn't fit. Then there's the fact that CONCHA (23A: Bowl-shaped part of the ear) and CONCHES (62A: Big shells) are essentially the same word. If you saw them both in the same grid normally, you'd be like "what the hell? that's not right." So I don't know why that sentiment shouldn't apply here as well.
The core concept is clever, in its way, though PRO AND CON isn't the strongest self-standing phrase. PROS AND CONS, sure. But I don't have a problem with the core concept. It's the pitiful execution, the absolute tin ear when it comes to fill, that is maddening.
- 37A: Family name on "Roseanne" (CONNER) — really wanted it to be DAN before I got the theme.
- 49A: 1997 Nicolas Cage/John Malkovich thriller (CON-AIR) — really wanted it to be "FACE/OFF" before I got the theme. I must've thought the clue said "Nicolas Cage/John Travolta."
- 5D: Conjunction that's usually part of a pair (NOR) — first thing in the grid, which eventually helped me figure out the middle word of the revealer (AND), which eventually got me to the theme. It took a while, but NOR got me there.
Initial reports from the American Red Cross indicate that "American Red Crosswords" has raised at least $10,000 so far. That's just the amount that came in via the link we provided on the website, and I know of many people who donated via other links, so the amount is likely somewhat higher. The crossword collection will be coming to iPhone and iPad soon. Stay tuned.